Do you remember life before online banking? C’mon, it wasn’t THAT long ago. When it was time to pay bills, you wrote a check and dropped it in the mail. If you needed to transfer money between accounts, you called the 1-800 number (and let’s just hope you enjoy hold music). Even something as simple as an address change meant getting in the car and driving to the bank branch. The horror!
So, what if your bank took online banking away? Would you be upset? Would you leave your bank? Is online banking important enough to you that you would move your accounts to another financial institution?
Don’t worry – your bank is NEVER going to take that chance. The banking industry realized years ago that having a customer portal (particularly one with a bill pay feature) was one of their greatest defenses against customer churn – and customer loyalty was just the tip of the iceberg.
Customer portals help banks reduce customer support expenses and provide a new channel to communicate with their customers. Other industries took notice and today we use customer portals for everything from checking our 401k balance to printing concert tickets.
So, what exactly is a client (or customer) portal? It’s nothing more than an electronic gateway allowing companies to securely communicate and interact with their customers via the internet. The American consumer has made it clear that we value our customer portals and they are here to stay. If your company doesn’t have one, here are a few reasons you might want to consider getting on board…
Your customers demand it
It’s no longer enough to have a website and a Facebook page. They’re simply not optional. What was once considered cutting edge is now the standard. Much like mobile apps, client portals have become an expectation of today’s consumer. The customer of the digital age wants instant access to everything at anytime, from anywhere. They want the companies they do business with to empower them by giving them options. Providing your customers with a client portal can show them that you understand their expectations and that you are invested in making them happy.
They save time and money
Self service is now the channel of choice for today’s consumers, and one of the greatest benefits of a client portal is they give your customers that option. Turns out, that’s good news for your bottom dollar. A client portal can reduce the time associated with daily tasks such as handling support calls and mailing documents. It’s like having a call center open 24/7 – but you don’t have to pay any overtime. In addition to reduced personnel expenses, client portals can increase productivity. Customer support activities can distract employees from activities like training and revenue generation. Since customers have demonstrated a desire to self serve, companies can actually improve customer satisfaction scores by automating tasks that were once manual (and costly).
They improve customer loyalty
Customer portals help keep all of our information in one place. A proper client portal is organized, searchable and filterable so finding what we want is quick and easy – and customers LOVE that. If I need an invoice from last February, I don’t want to dig through old emails or worse – through a stack of paper somewhere. Some auto repair facilities have started offering complete service history on their web portals. (You mean I can finally clean out my glove box?). They know that if their customers have their vehicles serviced somewhere else their records will no longer be in one place, and we know consumers place a high value on the one stop shop.
The bottom line is that investment in a customer portal makes sense. Competition is fierce and adding a customer portal can help make your customers happier while saving your organization time and money. Consider developing a custom client portal today. Your competitor already has.